LAFC righted the ship on Wednesday with a 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake at Banc of California Stadium. Prior to the win, the Black & Gold had failed to capture three points in five straight matches.
On Sunday, LAFC host the Colorado Rapids for the first time in Club history. With the Rapids putting together a string of nice results as of late, LAFC will have to look past Colorado's position in the standings and focus on the match at hand.
Here are the Toyota Keys to the Match for LAFC's contest against the Rapids:
Continue To Limit The Simple Mistakes
Asked what was the key to LAFC's first shutout win in nine matches, defender Steven Beitashour cited the lack of mistakes in the backline. During its run of five matches without a win, LAFC twice conceded goals late in games when they were in a position to get a result. Many of those goals weren't the result of tactics or brilliant play from the opposition, they were individual errors made at inopportune times.
Against Colorado, the entire squad, not just the backline, has to continue to limit the individual errors and lapses in focus they'd become prone to over that rough stretch. Colorado is a team that doesn't score many goals. So please, no gifted opportunities on Sunday.
High Tempo From The Opening Whistle
With two wins and a draw in its last three, Colorado has put together a nice mini-run. Much of their success has come from the acquisition of some new personnel and a switch to a new system. As the home side, LAFC need to get on the ball early and use their uptempo passing to disrupt the Rapids from the first minute. Colorado is on a nice run of form, so they'll be growing in confidence, and be getting more familiar with the new system with every passing minute. Don't let them settle in to this match. An early goal will open the match up and play into LAFC's hands.
Play In The Spaces
Colorado's aforementioned new system features a narrow diamond midfield. With four players congesting the center of the pitch, the Rapids make it hard to play through them. The key to beating a midfield like this is to entice those midfielders at the sides of the diamond to defende wider than they would like. LAFC should try to play in the half spaces early, combine passes there to engage the Rapids midfielders. From there, space will open as players begin move. If LAFC can go from outside to inside by playing in those spaces, they'll open up avenues for players to pass on the move and cause chaos. The balance provided by the Black & Gold fullbacks in possession will be crucial on Sunday as they connect the midfield and LAFC's wide attackers.